Friday, October 9, 2009

The Circle of Life

Whoa--two posts two days in a row? What's gotten into me? No, I haven't been cooking more; I've just been documenting my cooking more often.

It sounds like I'm going to be talking about something very deep: "The Circle of Life"? Ah, yes... The circle of life of a banana in my house, that is. Here's something worth knowing about me (yeah, right): I detest bananas. I have in the past, but I will never be seen eating a raw banana. I cannot stand the texture of it in my mouth. The fact is, however, that I eat bananas every single day--sometimes two a day! I put half a banana in my oatmeal every morning, and for a late-night snack, I often make a PB & J sandwich with banana slices, or I make what I call "Banana Sandwiches" with banana slices as the outer part and peanut butter or apple butter or vegan chocolate spread as the luscious inside. Mmm...

Where does the circle of life come in? Well, bananas to be used in banana sandwiches and oatmeal last only as long as they have scant brown spots. When they get mushy, not even my oatmeal gets to enjoy their presence. The end of the life cycle of bananas results in Banana Heaven: BANANA BREAD!

Welcome to Banana Heaven :)

I've been using the banana bread recipe off of vegcooking.com since 2005, but I have tweaked it to be lower in sugar and higher in tastiness. Simple enough, no? (Recipe follows the photographs.)

Walnut banana bread (above and below), with a vagrant raisin sitting inMmmm... Can you see the layer of peanut butter in the middle?Peanut butter and raisin banana bread, above and belowI saw Brandy the Dog lurking behind my photos, so here she joins in the fun.Vegan banana breads become friends despite their differences.

Here it is:

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Makes 1 banana loaf

(Approximate calorie count: 183 calories per 1/12 banana bread, excluding raisins)

3/4 cup firm silken tofu (I usually make 2 banana loaves at a time and use up the entire Mori-Nu package)
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (I use about 1 and a half medium-sized bananas)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
splash of non-dairy milk, if needed
a handful of raisins (optional)
2 tbsp. natural peanut butter (i.e. the kind that has "peanuts" as its only ingredient), liquidy

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.
2) Grease the loaf pan with vegan margarine or oil.
3) Blend the tofu in a blender until smooth and creamy. You can whip it, too, if you don't feel like dirtying a blender.
4) Pour the tofu into a large bowl and beat in the sugar, oil, vanilla, and bananas.
5) In the same bowl or a different bowl (can you tell I don't like washing dishes?), mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
6) Beat everything together; then fold in the raisins. If the batter looks too dry, add a splash of non-dairy milk and mix it in.
7) Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the loaf pan.
8) Drizzle the peanut butter over this bottom layer. Spread it gently with the back of a spatula or spoon.
9) Gently drop the rest of the batter over the peanut butter so that it is mostly covered.
10) Bake for 50-60 minutes. Make sure to do a toothpick test before removing it from the oven.

Enjoy :)

Vegan in Suburbia

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